Aduma- The Maasai Jumping Competition

Historically the Maasai tribe lived in what are now Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Some villages are inside Serengeti, but all villages inside the crater have been relocated. The Maasai still move their livestock thru the crater. Maasai dances are a big part of their tradition. There are dances for all sorts of significant social occasions. Most well-known is adumu, the leaping dance. Historically, warriors showed their prowess by killing a lion. Now it’s about how high they can jump. Women wear intricate, colored beadwork necklaces and shawls. Warriors psyche themselves up before the jumping dance. The outcome may decide who will be their spouse.

The men stand in a circle

with their spears poised before fanning out and dancing to the tune. They jump to the tune in sequence, keeping their bodies straight and their heels grounded. It may look easy, but reaching these heights requires tremendous physical prowess and fitness. Mothers sing about the courage of their sons. The women sing to encourage their favorite warrior. The highest leapers get the most acclaim and may then choose his bride.

For our (tourist) demonstration, the men & women lined up & held long staffs, not spears. No wives were awarded.


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